After tragedies, community events encourage empathy, pave way for progress, organizers say
Organizers say the events encourage empathy, pave way for progress after tragedies
Community members gather for a prayer rally at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa on Sept. 22 after the fatal police shooting of unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file
Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:00 am
By Paighten Harkins Tulsa World |
In the weeks after Terence Crutcher was fatally shot by a Tulsa police officer, rallies, forums and other events have filled local calendars as community members gather to discuss the shooting, race in Tulsa and how to bring about change.
The most effective way to do that, event organizers and speakers say, is to acknowledge the issue and talk about it — and then act.
“I firmly believe in the importance of dialogue, but only as a means to a larger end. It can’t just be talking for talking’s sake,” said Mana Tahaie, YWCA’s interim director of immigrant and refugee services.
In the days immediately following Crutcher’s death, protests materialized outside the Tulsa County Courthouse, City Hall and Tulsa Jail. Hundreds gathered for events at Greenwood Cultural Center and the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, among other places.
Tahaie, who has led the YWCA’s racial justice initiatives since 2008, will be speaking at three separate, albeit related, events related to race in the coming week.
The first event discusses race in the workplace as part of the Return on Inclusion Summit, the second event focuses on creating public policy that helps marginalized groups, and the third is a panel discussion on crime and racial prejudice at a film screening.
Whatever the event may be, Tahaie said justthe act of setting aside a time and space to mull over the tragedy can be useful.
“People need a place to put all of their emotions, a place to process through all things they’re thinking and feeling, somewhere to help make sense of things that feel senseless,” she said.
Although some have said so many events in the aftermath of Crutcher’s death suggested disorganization, Tulsa Talks forum coordinator DeVon Douglass said the plethora of gatherings demonstrated “unity of thought.”
Douglass, who has been living in Tulsa for several years, said the events are the first step to inciting change because they give people a space to mourn, discuss different ideas and form a plan to change things.
“Because that’s the whole goal is that Tulsa is a better place, that Oklahoma is a better place, that we’re forming a more perfect union,” Douglass said. “That’s what our founding fathers called us to do.”
Part of what makes these gatherings so important is that they bring together people from different communities, who have experienced issues of police brutality or systematic racism in different ways, and introduce them and their varying ideas to one another. “It’s important to have those different opinions, even if we disagree with each other, because you can’t have change in a stagnant place,” Douglass said.
Since Crutcher’s death, the Rev. Barbara Prose, from All Souls Church, said one of the questions she’s received from her congregation — particularly from white members — is how they can get involved.
These questions culminated in an event last week that taught attendees how to join a movement to end racism without dominating the conversation.
“So it’s not white people taking over. It’s white people really listening and learning what life is like for Tulsa residents of color and learning to collaborate,” Prose said.
The event included a panel of speakers including We the People leader Marq Lewis, University of Oklahoma professor Chad Johnson and leaders from other local churches.
Attendance at the community events since and before Crutcher’s death have convinced Douglass that though there’s still work to do in Tulsa, people care about what’s going on in the city and that some residents aren’t being treated equitably.
“Tulsa’s not going to be able to be the best city that it can possibly be if we keep sweeping racism that exists in our city under the rug,” Douglass said.
That response is indicative of a movement already underway in the city — and across the country, Douglass said.
She remembered a police shooting in 2006 that didn’t garner nearly the same response as the deaths of Michael Brown or Tulsans Eric Harris and Terence Crutcher.
“It’s clearly a movement, because we’re not responding at all in the way that we did in 2006,” she said. “It’s 10 years later, and the way we respond to police-involved shootings is completely different, and that’s encouraging.”
Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Fall Policy Boot CampWhen: Friday, Oct. 14
Where: OSU-Tulsa, North Hall in the BS Roberts Room, 700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Cost: $105, registration deadline is Oct. 12
What: An intensive policy training workshop, featuring a diversity and inclusion presentation from YWCA’s Mana Tahaie.
The Keynote Speaker is the notable Mr. Benjamin Jealous -Venture Capitalist, Civic Leader and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Please join us at the 2016 Dinner of Reconciliation on November 17, 2016 at the Greenwood Cultural Center. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m. and the Dinner & Program will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
While honoring the past, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation [JHFCR] is writing a new story – a narrative of cooperation and trust. The Center’s mission is to transform society’s divisions into social harmony through the serious study and work of reconciliation. Through education, scholarship, and community outreach, the Center has positioned itself at the forefront of a national dialogue on reconciliation – finding new ways for Americans to live together well.
The Center is seeking a Director. The successful candidate must possess a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusivity; be an exceptional communicator; serve as an effective and approachable “face” of the organization; and work tirelessly to create, sustain, and strengthen community alliances. S/he will implement the strategic planning and the Center’s fundraising efforts. The successful candidate must have a demonstrated history of effective fundraising and understand the philanthropic landscape in the Tulsa Community. Experience managing staff (paid and volunteer) is essential as is the ability to manage conflict constructively. The Director must have experience effectively communicating and engaging a Board of Directors. Reports directly to the JHFCR Executive Committee.
ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS
Financial – Create and maintain an annual budget, oversee the results of operations and monitor the JHF Center’s financial position.
Development — Develop and sustain a sound fund development program to ensure the availability of the necessary financial resources to sustain the JHFCR.
Leverage community partnerships for potential funding opportunities, whether corporate sponsorships, individual donors or grants.
In conjunction with the Board and Development Committee, design and execute all strategy and operations related to major campaigns, individual major gifts fund- raising and membership program activities.
To build capacity, develop infrastructure, policies and procedures, set and track goals, and report on progress toward these goals.
Programming — Directly responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating the Center’s programs.
Work with volunteer committees to achieve targeted results and gather metrics that demonstrate success.
Public Awareness — Identify, cultivate and develop strong corporate and nonprofit alliances throughout the community, state and nation to increase the level of awareness regarding JHFCR’s identity and mission.
Coordinate alliances between internal JHFCR functions and community efforts to increase our visibility and brand awareness.
Become involved in and represent JHFCR at community events involving community partnerships.
Communication — Lead the Center’s communication efforts to build brand awareness.
Coordinate volunteers and contract personnel to develop a strategic communication effort in multiple channels, with specific attention to the Web site, social media, print and electronic visibility.
Perform other duties as assigned or requested.
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Must have proven, successful interpersonal relationship skills to maintain effective and satisfactory working relationships with staff, vendors, volunteers, visitors, and contractors. Must have organizational agility and the ability to influence within the Center and with other community groups. Must be able to communicate successfully at every level and have strong business acumen specific to our non-profit status and mission. Must have excellent team-building skills. Must have the ability to manage several projects simultaneously.
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university with 5+ years of nonprofit management/community affairs/fund raising experience. Advanced MS Office skills, advanced database software skills, advanced experience with accounting and budgeting practices. Advanced organizational skills, efficiency skills and excellent attention to detail with a demonstrated commitment to completing assignments on a timely basis.
TO APPLY, SUBMIT COVER LETTER AND RESUME TO:
John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Inc.
Attention: Human Resources Department
322 North Greenwood Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74120
Or submit a cover letter and resume on the John Hope Franklin Center’s website,
NOTE: Applications must be received no later than midnight September 7, 2016.
Tulsa World: City councilors, area leaders look at Race Riot history on tour around Greenwood
May 24th, 2016 -
By BILL SHERMAN Faith and Values Writer | Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 12:00 am
Jocelyn Payne (left) and City Councilor Jack Henderson visit the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park during a tour of historically significant race riot areas given by the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation on Thursday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
With the 95th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot less than three weeks away, city councilors, their staff and other leaders Tuesday toured the Greenwood District just north of downtown, an area that was all but destroyed in late May 1921.
The riot started with the accusation that a black man had assaulted a young white female elevator operator, and when it was over, 1,256 homes and businesses of blacks in a 30-block area were burned, and an estimated 300 people were dead, both black and white.
It has been called the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.
City Councilor Jack Henderson said the councilors decided it was time for them to take a tour of the Greenwood District to “see what used to be here, what could be here, and to reminisce about some of the things that happened.”
“The Race Riot happened 95 years ago, but it still leaves a taint on this city,” he said. “And it’s a taint that a lot of people are afraid to talk about.
“We should never be afraid to talk about our past history because from our past we will be able to leap forward into the future,” he said.
“And I think that every day, when people remember what happened here, and remember that we can change that, this whole community can become one city, one Tulsa, and make everybody proud of that.
“We can’t do nothing about what happened in the past, but we can definitely make sure the past never happens again,” he said.
Henderson said Greenwood has a rich history.
“It was once called Black Wall Street,” he said of the area where black entrepreneurs and residents prospered.
“That’s something that we can’t say is happening right now,” he said, a reference to the concern in north Tulsa about a dearth of businesses.
“My one dream, when I got on the council, was to re-create the Black Wall Street image, to re-create the storefronts and bring people in.”
He said a lot of the recent development north of downtown, including the new ONEOK Field ballpark, is just re-creating something that was there in the past.
Jocelyn Payne, executive director of the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, served as a guide as participants viewed Race Riot exhibits at the Greenwood Cultural Center, toured the Mabel B. Little Heritage House on that property and took a bus tour of historic sites in the Greenwood District, ending at the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.
She said the Mabel B. Little House preserves evidence of how black people lived in segregated north Tulsa before the Race Riot.
“I believe that many people still consider north Tulsa as like a foreign territory, without realizing that what was happening in north Tulsa, a long time ago, largely mirrored what was happening in the rest of Tulsa — people who had families, trying to do the best they could by their families … working toward dreams of a better world.”
Julius Pegues, an aviation engineer and chairman of the board of the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, said that after the Race Riot, the black citizens rebuilt their community in the 1930s.
“It was a thriving area until the late ’50s, when Tulsa Urban Renewal Authority started and things began to disappear.”
He said the installation of the Inner Dispersal Loop in the 1960s was another blow to the community.
“The only part of Greenwood that is left is between Archer and the expressway,” he said, property that is now owned by the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.
Pegues said he thought Tulsa was doing well in race relations.
When he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1953, he said, he could not attend state universities to study engineering and could not eat at certain Tulsa restaurants.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but we’re doing as well as anyone else,” he said.
“We just have to keep working on it. It’s not something that’s going to be accomplished in a year or two.
“As people become educated on what has happened in the past, and people have conversations about it and understand one another better, then you have better relationships. It takes time. For 80 years, they didn’t even talk about it,” Pegues said.
Registration open for 2016 Symposium!
March 22nd, 2016 -
Don’t delay. Reserve your place in the national dialogue on race and reconciliation.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW TO ATTEND
The University of Tulsa College of Law
16th Annual Buck Colbert Franklin Memorial Civil Rights Lecture
“The Force of Implicit Bias: Science and Rhetoric”
UCLA Professor of Law, Professor of Asian American Studies
Inaugural Korea Times-Hankook Ilbo Chair in Korean American Studies and Law
Inaugural Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
JHF Center member Bob Webber and Executive Director Jocelyn Payne had an opportunity to talk about the Center and upcoming Dinner of Reconciliation with Rebecca Marks-Jimerson, host of the Tulsa Community College Diversity Dialogue Talk Show. The interview was held on October 1st at the Thomas K. McKeon Center for Creativity. Click the link or watch the video below.